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Parents And New Music: Risks and Rewards

Share a story about turning your folks on to new sounds.

Monday, November 25, 2013

shairng music family thanksgiving Soundcheck (HumanSeeHumanDo/flickr)

With the Thanksgiving holiday closing in, many of us will be spending a lot of time with our families this week. Here at Soundcheck, we decided that it’s time to talk about musical compatibility between you… and your parents.

We want to know: Have you ever tried to introduce new music to your parents? How successful were you? You can post your response on or leave your story on our voicemail: 866-939-1612.

We asked the same question of comedian and Twitter monster Rob Delaney. He’s the author of the new book Rob Delaney: Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage. Delaney grew up with parents that liked music, but never quite understood his love of Danzig. He was however, able to find some common ground: "My mother and I would definitely listen to Billy Joel's An Innocent Man album and sing along in the car at top volume. We had that on cassette and LP."

He's even gone to concerts with his parents, but when asked if Thanksgiving is the time to play your parents some new music, Delaney cautioned against it. "You really shouldn't," he tells host John Schaefer, "You should find the ground that you know you get along on musically and just celebrate that and then drive around in their station wagon later and listen to Slayer at top volume, cause you're not going to sell 'em on it."


Rob Delaney

Comments [4]

Bill from Tenafly NJ

My mom was a big fan of classical music, show tunes and Frank Sinatra that she would play for me and my sisters all the time. I hate to admit that I probably know all the words to the "Sound of Music", "Music Man" or "South Pacific". When I was in high school I was a big Pink Floyd fan. I turned my mother on to the "Dark Side of the Moon" and the "Wish You Were Here" albums and she loved it! She loved it so much that there were many times when I would come home from school and she would be blasting Pink Floyd on the living room stereo. In 1994 we even went to see Pink Floyd play at Yankee Stadium.

Nov. 26 2013 09:59 PM
Brian L. from Brooklyn

My dad was born in 1951, and he's a lifelong rock'n'roll fan, but he's never been a record collector. He's a radio listener. Incidentally, I grew up to become a songwriter and a music journalist, and my dad and I have really bonded over music from his own younger days, and from some of his favorite bands, that he'd simply missed out on because it wasn't on AM radio at the time. For example: He loves the Beach Boys, but he'd never heard any of the myriad attempts fans had made to stitch together the original sessions for the "SMiLE" album. He loves the Kinks, but he'd missed out on their fantastic run of albums from 1966-1969, when they were at their creative peak but didn't have a single U.S. chart hit, in part because they weren't allowed into the U.S. to perform. I coached him on how to approach the Stones as an "album band" and not just as a "singles band," and I introduced him to my favorite album ever, the Zombies' "Odessey (sic) and Oracle." That one took him a while to warm up to, but once it clicked, wow, he and I had some moments.

Both of my parents accrued some serious "cred points" when they were younger without realizing it. Last Christmas, when I was visiting home, I referenced the Flying Burrito Brothers in passing, and my mom remarked that she'd seen them in 1969, possibly opening for Johnny Cash. This is a woman, mind, who lost the thread on the Beatles when they "got strange." While I began shouting about how MAJOR Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman were (previously, she'd had no idea who those guys were, she pulled a copy of the "Gilded Palace of Sin" LP from a cabinet and put it on the stereo, remarking she hadn't given it a listen since high school. (Her 2013 assessment: "I guess this *is* kind of unusual. I'm surprised I would've liked this." Another time, my dad mentioned how in 1972, his then-girlfriend had dragged him to see Miles Davis ("I guess it was pretty good," he reported). He was so comically blase' about it that, again, I just started screaming. Thing is, though, he wanted me to introduce him to some of Miles' earlier, pre-electric stuff. I gladly obliged.

Nov. 25 2013 10:59 PM
Brian Snat from Morris County NJ

When I was in high school and college, my parents were going through a country music phase. Though I haven't been a fan of these artists in many years (in fact I really dislike them), I would play stuff like The Eagles, Dan Fogleberg and Jackson Browne and my mom really dug much of their music. To my current dismay I also turned her on to Billy Joel. Eventually I'd come home to discover that she had bought the latest Eagles, Billy Joel or Jackson Browne album.

I soon left that sort of music behind when I discovered punk, and as much as I hate the corporate rock of The Eagles, et. al. these days I also enjoy some of the country-folk artists such as Nanci Griffith, Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams and alt country artists like Wilco. My mom really likes the, especially Lucinda. Last year I got her into First Aid Kit. Dad has no use for that stuff. He's long been out of his country music phase and and into a 50's nostalgia phase and most of his listening is to some satellite do-wop station. There is no getting him into newer music unless it's the latest 50's compilation.

Conversely, rather than my daughter turning me on to "her" music, I've been turning her on to my stuff for years. I keep up on and enjoy a lot of new music and she would come to me and ask me if "I heard of ... (fill in some new, breaking artist)." I was usually able to hand her a CD or two that I already had, because I was into that artist well before they became popular. White Stripes, Strokes, Black Keys, Yeah Yeah Yeah's, The XX and many more. And one day I noticed a stack of my CDs that she was ripping and it was my older stuff like R.E.M., Joy Division, Buzzcocks, Bowie, Ramones, Led Zeppelin, Depeche Mode, Yaz, Neil You, Dylan, Johnny Cash, The Replacements, Television and Yo La Tengo.

I'm still missing a lot of CDs that I bet some of her friends "borrowed" when we weren't home. I'm glad they enjoy them enough to borrow, but I'd like them back.

Nov. 25 2013 09:45 PM
Kate from Brooklyn

My mom usually like what I introduce to her, and I attribute that to our shared appreciation for blues and soul. But hands down the funniest bit is when my mom calls me and says " Kate, there is this band you MUST listen to. they are sooo good honey, and I just think you'll like them...they're called, the limbs, no no wait, I just forgot...( pause) oh! the roots! the roots!...and I hear they are from philly ( where my dad's family is from and where I lived for awhile!)." But the best is the last time we were on vacation and at a restaurant when the live band started playing Boz Scaggs' Lowdown, to which I started jamming to the flute and she erupted into laughter!

Nov. 25 2013 09:13 PM

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